Yancy Spencer III, known as the ‘godfather’ of Gulf Coast surfing, started his illustrious career on Pensacola Beach in 1965. Five years later he emerged as an acclaimed professional surfer, and was named the number one amateur surfer on the Gulf Coast.
In 1972, he won East Coast Pro, and made regular appearances in films and magazines including having his profile published in Surfer Magazine. Yancy passed away on February 14, 2011 from a massive heart attack, at the age of sixty, after a day of surfing at one of his favorite spots in California. The Pensacola Beach community celebrated his life with a massive ‘paddle out’, and the installation of a life-sized bronze statue of him at Casino Beach.
Yancy left a Gulf Coast legacy at Innerlight Surf Shop; a business he founded in 1969, that is still operated by his family. Spencer opened his first shop in Gulf Breeze, Florida; a small community located across the bridge from Pensacola Beach. In the years that followed, the business expanded to Gulf Breeze, FL; Pensacola, FL; Destin, FL and Gulf Shores, AL, and at the Pensacola Beach Marina.
Innerlight continues to serve as a gathering place for local wave-riders. They’ve also introduced the sport to generations of Gulf Coast locals and visitors by selling and renting gear, teaching lessons, sponsoring events, and hosting surf camps. Their instructors have years, sometimes decades, of experience, and are lifeguard certified.
They offer daily private and group lessons as well as kid’s surf camps in the summer. They also host surf parties for events such as birthdays, corporate retreats and bachelor parties. If surfing is a bit too athletic for your taste then Innerlight also rents stand up paddle boards at their store in the Pensacola Beach Marina.
If you get addicted they’ve got all the gear you need. Take advantage of their ‘try before you buy’ policy, and have the cost of your rental applied towards your purchase.
Can you think of a better way to honor Yancy’s memory then to give surfing a try?